Homeless man, who helped put away Riverside cop killer, given hotel room for holidays

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A homeless man whose testimony helped convict a police killer got a new roof over his head for the holidays thanks to the Riverside Police Department.

Officers and local stores teamed up to provide the man with a Christmas surprise.

Stephen McQueen shared a hug with Sgt. Debbie Foy in the church parking lot he called home. Five years ago, he witnessed the murder of Officer Ryan Bonaminio in that same parking lot. His testimony during the murder trial helped put the killer away.

"I did do something anybody else would do, hopefully," McQueen said.

The 57-year-old has been homeless off and on. He had a job as a caretaker, but it ended when his employer died, and in September his girlfriend died of cancer. He has been living in a car ever since.

"It's not too bad, but it could be much better - you know, stretching out and what not," he said.

It was during a ceremony for the fallen officer that Foy learned about McQueen's situation. So she spearheaded a collection to move him out of his car and into a hotel room for the holidays.

"All the officers I contacted and I said this is what I'm doing and they all donated money," she said.

The Riverside Police Officers Association also donated money toward gift cards and a room. The Comfort Inn comped the two-night stay after hearing McQueen's story.

During his stay, McQueen will have the comfort of a bed and tub that he plans to soak in.

For the officers, it's the least they said they can do for him.

"The things that he's done for us. You can't repay that..." Foy said.

After the story aired on ABC7, generous viewers began calling the Comfort Inn to pay for extra nights. Shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve, viewers paid for 27 nights for McQueen.
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